Swedish by Tingstroms or British designed by Christopher Cattle for Walnut Cabinet Works ?
This story for us started about 5 or 6 years ago when we bought a lovely 1960’s rosewood bedroom suite with a chest of drawers and dressing table . It wasn’t labelled and we couldn’t find any others at the time , we then sold it all and forgot all about it . We then bought another set in an auction and searched again and found a couple of pieces on Ebay that were apparently labelled Tingstroms , a well known quality Swedish maker in the 1960s . We therefore thought that this was the solution until researching a while back in the British Library we found the same set illustrated in an article in a trade paper called The Cabinet Maker !
Dated 1965 the article showed the exact design as being by Christopher Cattle for a British maker called the Walnut Cabinet Works who were until then a long established maker of traditional bedroom furniture . We’ve looked online and in the 1960s they were making bedroom sets in the Queen Anne style which were looking old fashioned by 1965 , and later they moved onto what we call Marie Antoinette style pieces in cream with ornate gold decoration which was a style that was in vogue in the late 1960s and 1970s . Like a number of traditional makers who had seen contemporary furniture take a large share of the market they decided to come up with their own modern suite . It was called the Olympus range , and further research online says that the company name was changed to Olympus Furniture in 1972 . Having been founded in 1912 apparently it was being run by the grandson of the founder who was still running the business in 2010 . Any further information would be appreciated .
The Olympus range was made in rosewood or elm veneers , but we’ve only seen it in rosewood . There were 12 pieces in the range and it was a premium product at the time with the dressing table selling for a little more than the much more commonly seen G Plan Danish dressing table by Ib Kofod Larsen .
As yet we’ve not found much about Christopher Cattle . He was working in the early 1960s with another designer caller Herbert Berry designing quality contemporary office furniture for a maker called Lucas of London . A lot of smaller British makers in the 1960s used independent designers like Gunther Hoffstead , Ward and Austin and Robert Heritage whilst larger firms like G Plan had their own in-house designers . Some like Heritage and Frank Guille only seemed to have designed furniture whilst others like Hoffstead were product designers covering a whole range of items . Gunther Hoffstead designed all the Schreiber shop interiors in the 1970s as well as being the architect of the Uniflex factory and many of their furniture designs . Again please any information on Christopher Cattle or Herbert Berry would be of interest .